Children’s Messages

 

CIMG0043THandiwe- children's message 3-9-09How do we help our children hear and understand (and share) the words that we think matter so much?

How do we speak with children in our church?

How do we provide opportunities for the voices, the words, of our children to be heard in worship?

Our words matter to their faith development. And their words matter to our faith development!

 

Newest ‘Children’s Messages’ posts . . . (images link to posts)

Various factors can engender either a positive or a negative mindset in a young child regarding skin color and associations with different colors of skin.  Part of this process is a reflection of cultural language patterns.  The English language has many more positive definitions for ‘white’ than for ‘black.’  Parents can offset this reality by offering positive images for dark colors and avoiding negative ones.  In their book ‘The Black Child,’ Dr. Phyllis Harrison-Ross and Barbara Wyden give specific suggestions for parents of Black children, some of which apply to all parents.  Following is a brief excerpt from their guidlines:

‘I like to see mothers pat a child’s cheek and say, ‘You’ve got a beautiful brown skin.’  I like to see a wife rub cheeks with her husband and say, ‘You’re as Black as an African King.’  Or a father tell his daughter, ‘You’re just about the same color as Aretha Franklin…’

“Make you child color-conscious.  Explain how people come in a variety of colors.  And how much people like color.  Talk about what colors he or she likes the most.  ‘Would you like a red sweater or a blue sweater?’ ‘Do you want to wear your yellow socks this morning?’ Yellow’s a bright happy color like the sunshine.’  …You child should come to understand that there are many shades of color in this world and that all of them have their place. ‘Oh, you don’t like brown? That’s strange.  I alwyas think of brown as the color of the good earth that gives us our food and all the flowers we like.  And I think of brown as the color of chocolate milk, and I know you like that, don’t you?’

“And black?  It’s easy to avoid talking about the color black, but it’s not a good idea.  Show your child the night sky and talk about how the stars shine in the velvety black sky, just like diamonds or pieces of glass.  Or talk about the black ink that comes from the pen and the black print of books and how black has always carried messages to people, given them ways to learn and think.  If you have a black telephone, there’s no reason why you can’t refer to it as ‘my Black friend who keeps me in touch with the world.’”

Another way to look specifically at the skin color question for children is to be very intentional about describing differences in skin color — all with positive associations:

Some people are black like ebony wood.

Some people are light brown like roast turkey.

Some people are pink like bubble gum.

Some people are brown like chocolate cake.

Some people are white like vanilla ice cream.

Some people are yellow like a ripe pear.

Some people are reddish brown like cinnamon rolls.

Some people are tan like peanut butter.

A children’s message posted on Worship Words, uses the above poem to illustrate Genesis 1:26, “Then God said, ‘Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness….’”

From an article by Kathleen McGinnis pubished in Parenting for Peace & Justice, circa 1989; an excerpt from the book Starting Out Right by McGinnis and Oehlbeg.

 

An alphabetical listing of all resources for Children’s Messages:

 

A children’s message for World Communion Sunday.  Greetings from other cultures could be used.

What do we do and say in English to greet people?

[Hi.  Hello.  Good morning. We wave.  We shake hands.]

In Nepal when people greet one another, they put their hands together like this, and say “Namaste.”

Try it…

Does anyone know what the word “Namaste” means?

The word “Namaste” means more than just “hello.”  It means “The divine or God  in me greets the divine or God in you.  It helps people remember that God’s spirit lives in every person they meet.  So when I say it to you, it means I remember that God’s spirit lives in you.

Let’s try it one more time.  “Namaste.”

Let’s pray.

God, thank you for people of other countries who can teach us things.  Help us see that your spirit lives in everyone we meet.  Amen.

rainbow-ribbons-thandiwe23rd Sunday after Pentecost, Year B

Children’s Conversation and Prayer

Mark 10:46-52

 

 

Hold up cards of different colours, one at a time.

 

Ask:  What can you name that is… [the colour of the card being held up]  orange/red/purple/etc?

 

Thank you God for the colour orange/red/purple/etc and everything that is orange/red/purple/etc.

 

God created our eyes to see.  We praise God for all the colours we can see.

 

Close your eyes.

Some people cannot see colour.

But they can hear!  And we can praise God for every sound, too!

Picture1Invite children to meet at the back of the church

Have you ever made a bad decision?

What happened when you made a bad decision?

Today, we’re going to go on a trip with a young man named Henry.

Put on a baseball cap and oversized jacket.

Hi! I’m Henry. I have an older brother, Matt, who always followed the rules….read more

An interactive Children’s Message inviting the congregation to enter into the decisions and adventures of the “prodigal son.” Luke 15:1-3, 11-24

Click here for the full script.

I have something in my bag.  They will help me tell a story. (Take all pictures out of bag and put face down on lap. Note: I use the same bag, a flowered African bag, every Sunday, so the children have learned to expect something to come out of the bag.)

Picture 1:  (map of African continent)

IMG_9145
What’s this? [map of Africa]
In Africa the “King of Beasts” sleeps.
What’s the “king of beasts”? [the lion!]…[turn over picture 2]

 

 

 

 

Picture 2: [lion sleeping]IMG_9146
What time is it?  [night time]
At night some small animals come out.
Here’s one of the smallest animals…. [turn over picture 3]

 

 

 

 

Picture 3:  (mouse)IMG_9147
What is it? [mouse]  They say a mouse likes cheese.
Mice like to nibble. This little mouse finds a rope across the path, at least the mouse thinks it’s a rope. She nibbles on the rope.
What happens?… [turn over picture 4]

 

 

 

Picture 4:  (Angry lion and paw on mouse)IMG_9148
The lion awakens. “Ow!” he roars!
Quick as a cat, the lion catches the mouse.
“Please,” cries the mouse. “Let me go. And someday I will help you!”
The lion says, “You are so small. How could you ever help me?”
The lion laughs so hard he holds his tummy, and the mouse…runs away!
A few days later, two hunters come to the jungle. They set a big rope snare.
As the lion walks, he steps into the snare, trapped!  …
[turn over picture 5]

Picture 5:  (lion in snare)IMG_9149
The lion roars! He weeps!  But he cannot escape.
Far away, the mouse hears a faint howling. “What’s that noise?  Could it be that lion?” she wonders.  She hurries through the jungle following the sound.
The mouse finds the lion tangled in the trap.  She sees how the ropes hold him tight.
Shat do mice like to do? Yes, mice like to chew!

Picture 6:  (lion and mouse together) — Apologies, the artwork is missing.
With her sharp little teeth the mouse nibbles until the main rope breaks. The lion shakes off the other ropes that hold him.  The lion stands free again!  The lion turns to the mouse and says, “Little mouse, I was foolish to ridicule you for being small.  You helped me in a BIG way and saved my life!

You are never too small to help others. And others are never too small to help you.

Pray with me.
God, you give each of us gifts.  No gift is too small or unimportant to be of use to you and to use to help others.  May we encourage one another, and especially people who are younger or smaller than us, to find and use their gifts.  Amen.

Based on Aesop’s tale
Sub-themes: Build others up, not down;  You never know who will help you!

Lectionary: 24 August 2014

Images of saints, past and present, are used to help children identify and appreciate people who are ‘saints’, who use their life to make the world a better place.

The iconography of Robert Lenz provides numerous portraits of what he calls “marginalized heroes” –both traditional saints and modern figures who might be considered saints of their day.

Children’s Message for All Saints Day – pdf download

Examples of icons by Br Robert Lentz, OFM:

MLK iconSt Kateri iconGhandi icon

 

I have something in my bag.  (Take out picture of Alpha & Omega.)

1. What do you see?
2. The first letter is?…’A,’ and the second letter is?…funny.
3. These letters are nearby in something wooden/ stone/glass. Can you find them? — communion table/ pillar / stained glass window. (If they are not in view in your place of worship, explain that ‘Often these two letters are part of the decoration inside a church. Here is a picture of them in a stained glass window in a church’)

Alpha Omega mosaic - by Ana
4. Why are they there? Why would they be decorating a church? (take responses)
5. These are Greek letters, letters from the Greek alphabet. In Greek, we call this ‘Alpha’ and this ‘Omega.’ They are the beginning and the end of the Greek alphabet. What letters are at the beginning and end of our alphabet? (‘A’ and ‘Z’)
6. Alpha and Omega, these two letters, stand for God. We sometimes say, God is the Alpha and the Omega. God is the beginning and the end; nothing is outside of God.  Like the cover of a book, with all the pages inside, everything is inside God.
7.  Thank you for being the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.  Thank you for wrapping yourself around us and our world, like the cover of a book wraps itself around all the pages, from the beginning to the end. Thank you that you are always with us, and with everyone.  Amen.

21-08-2012

I have something in my bag…. (Take out a welcome sign or the word ‘Welcome’ printed on a piece of paper.)
‘WELCOME.’

IMG_9113
What does ‘welcome’ mean? … take responses
-Safe
-Part of the group

How do you make someone feel WELCOME?

Who here at our church who tries to make people coming to church feel welcome?

What do they do to make people coming to church feel welcome? [say hello; give them a hymnal; offer tea; introduce themselves; sharing with them.]

ZIMBABWE:
In Zimbabwe, where I used to live, there is a special way to greet people. There we shake hands in a special way, to say WELCOME. To say, “You are safe here.”

Explain: There are many snakes in Zimbabwe. And many of them are… poisonous! So many people carry a big heavy stick, called a Knobkerrie, to protect themselves. And sometimes when people were fighting, they would use a knobkerrie as a weapon.

When the people greet one another, they use a two-handed handshake. They still shake with one hand, and the other hand grasps the wrist of the shaking hand, so they are clasped together.
What would a person have to do with their big knobkerrie in order to shake hands with both hands?
Yes, they would have to put it down.
When a person shakes with both hands, they are saying, “I have no weapons; you are welcome—safe—here.”

Shake hands, in the Zimbabwe style, with each child.

It is important that we are welcoming, to help other people feel safe and part of the group.

PRAY with me.

God, thank you for showing us how to be welcoming and friendly.  May we always be messengers of peace.  Amen.

imageI have something in my bag. (Take out a broken bowl.)
1. What’s this? broken bowl
2. Have you ever broken something?
3. How did you feel?
4. Have you ever broken something your mum or dad told you to be careful with?
5. What happened?
6. Even when we do something wrong, our parents still love us.
7. And even when our parents are angry with us and punishing us, God still loves us and God watches over us.
Pray with me.
God, thank you for our mums and dads who love us even when we break things. Thank you for loving us, too. Amen.

Lectionary: 20 July 2014

Luke 15:1-32
Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one that is lost until you find it? saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’…
IMG_9134IMG_9135IMG_9136IMG_9137IMG_9138


IMG_9121 - Copy IMG_9123 - Copy IMG_9125 - Copy IMG_9126 - Copy IMG_9127 - Copy IMG_9129 - Copy IMG_9130 - Copy IMG_9131 - Copy IMG_9132 - CopyPicture 1: Girl at school
Once upon a time…a new girl comes to school.

Picture 2: Map of UK (or relevant country) with arrows from old home (Edinburgh) to new home (London)
She comes from far, far away. She talks differently. She dresses differently.

Picture 3: Girls jumping rope
What are they doing? (jumping rope)
Who knows how to jump rope?
The new girl does not know how to jump rope which is the favourite game the children play.
And when they teach her, she is not very good at it.

Picture 4: (angry girls calling new girl names)
Because she’s new and different and she doesn’t know the games and she’s not very good at them, the children call her names.
How does the new girl feel? How do you feel if other children call you names?

Picture 6: (none)

Picture 7: WORDS MATTER!
Words matter. They are important. Once the words are said, can you put them back inside your mouth? Can you make them to not be said?

Picture 8: I love you; I hate you
Think of the difference between these two sentences:
I love you.
and I hate you.
When you hear ‘I hate you,’ how do you feel?
When you hear ‘I love you,’ how do you feel?
Which feels nicer?

Picture 9: The Bible
Long ago a man named James writes in the Bible that words are powerful. He says we should be careful with our words. He says be quick to listen, be a good listener, and slow to speak. Be careful and thoughtful of our words before we say them.
My mum used to tell me, ‘If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything…at all.’

Picture 10 (Hold up picture 4 or 6 again)
What can these two girls do to change this story? to make the new girl feel welcome? What can they do to be nice? (say friendly and loving things)

Pray with me.
God, we are sorry for when we have used mean words to hurt people. Help us be friendly to people we meet. Amen.

Picture 1: Grasshopper playing fiddle
IMG_9120+ Once upon a time, on a warm summer’s day
+ A grasshopper stands in a field and plays his fiddle.

IMG_9118Picture 2: Grasshopper & Ant
+The grasshopper sees an ant working hard carrying something.
+ The grasshopper calls to the ant, ‘Yoo hoo, come dance while I play my fiddle.’
+ The ant says, ‘I cannot stop right now. I am toooo busy working.

IMG_9119Picture 3: Grasshopper questioning ant
+’What are you busy doing?’ asks the grasshopper.
+ The ant replies, ‘I am collecting food for the….’

IMG_9150Picture 4: snowman in snow
+… [let the children say…] Winter!

IMG_9117Picture 5: Grasshopper and Ant turning away
+ ‘Oh bother,’ says the grasshopper. This is summer. Winter is months away.’
+’Sorry,’ says the ant, ‘but I must make sure my family is prepared for the winter.’
+ With that, the ant continues her work gathering ant food.
+ The grasshopper contines to play.
+ What do you think happens? [Let children guess.]

Picture 6 (Sorry, it’s missing.)
+ Ant snug in her ant hill burrow, with the cupboard full of food.
+ And grasshopper? In his burrow, but hungry because the cupboard is bare.

+You must be ready says Jesus. You must be prepared.

Have a child read the scripture passage aloud:

Jesus teaches his disciples about being ready. He tells them, 'Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. Therefore you must be ready. Be prepared.'

Matthew 24:42,44

How do we prepare for Christmas?…. with trees, special foods, lights,…
And we prepare for the love of Christmas, for Jesus, by living each day as if he is here.

It is a puzzle, but we believe Jesus is with us in a very special way.

Pray with me.
God, we are looking forward to Christmas coming soon. As we prepare for Christmas, show us how to prepare our hearts for your love. Amen.

for after Guy Fawkes, New Years or Independence Days

(Ask one child) What are you thankful for?
God, thank you for (repeat what child said).
3-2-1 CLAP!
Let’s try it again, and clap really loudly
(Ask second child) What are you thankful for?
God, thank you for (repeat what child said).
3-2-1 CLAP!
Let’s try it again, but this time let’s get some help. We’ll get a louder fireworks sound if everyone claps with us.
(Ask third child) What are you thankful for?
God, thank you for (repeat what child said).
3-2-1 CLAP!
(Ask fourth child, or open it up to anyone) What are you thankful for?
God, thank you for (repeat what child/adult said).
3-2-1 CLAP!
I really like the rockets!
The shoot up..going whssssssh!
Then burst….CLAP!
Try it with me.
Whssssh!…CLAP!
God, help us be like rockets, soaring high, lighting up the earth with:
FAITH…whsssh! CLAP!
HOPE…whsssh! CLAP!
Good things always come in threes…
and…LOVE…whsssh! CLAP!
Thank you for lighting our wy in good times and bad times.
Amen.
Thanks (to the children)

O Children of Jacob,
O people of God,
come,
let us walk in the light of God.
–Isaiah 2:5

Lectionary 19 September 2010

I have something in my bag.
(Take out the cross I carry in my purse.)
What’s this? [cross]
Do you see any others? [look around worship room]
What does a cross remind us of? [Jesus]
I carry this cross to help me remember Jesus, when I’m not in church.
Do you ever get angry?
At what or at whom? [Allow children time to respond.]
I get angry, too. And sometimes when I’m angry, I’m tempted to be mean.
So, I get out this cross and I just hold it to remember Jesus, and to remember to be thoughtful and loving, not cruel and mean.
I have something else in my bag…a cross for each of you.
Now you can keep your cross with you to remember Jesus, and to help you be the best person you can be.
Pray with me.
God, thank you for reminders to help us do the right thing. Amen.

I have something in my bag.
What is this? [a globe]
Where are we? [find location]
I was born in ____________________. Can you find it on the globe?
Where were you born?
Can you find it?
What about your mums and fathers? Where were they born?
Let’s find those countries on the globe.
And your grandparents?

We come from many places.
And today we are all here at ________________ Church.
Why?
Why have we come from so many different places to be here today?
[Allow time for children to ponder aloud.]
We are all part of God’s family!
And each Sunday morning we have a family re-union.
No matter where you are, you are always invited to the re-union of God’s family every Sunday!
Pray with me.
God, thank you for having such a big family, big enough for all of us and anyone else who wants to be part of it. Thank you for bringing us together today for this amazing family re-union. Amen.

IMG_9392We send you out to learn
That God loves the world
And all its people
And that God loves you.
Amen.

 

 

We send you out together
As our loved children
To learn, to play,
And as part
Of the family of God.
Amen.

In the ritual, we give dignity to the human journey and name it as truly significant before our God.

Dorothy McRae-McMahon, Liturgies for the journey of Life, page ix

From Liturgies for the journey of Life (pages 4 and 9, respectively), by Dorothy McRae-McMahon